Of course, the big news coming out of Pennsylvania tonight is that the Philadelphia Flyers just beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime, to take game seven, and win their series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And oh yeah, Hillary Clinton is projected to beat Barack Obama in the primary.
Archives for April 2008
Join us at the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally for an evening of politics under the influence. We meet at 8:00 pm at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E, although some of us will show up a little early for dinner.
If you find yourself in the Tri-Cities area this evening, check out McCranium for the local Drinking Liberally . Otherwise, check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I first started blogging four years ago next month. What started as an exercise in forcing myself to write every day, has morphed into an obsession that can produce a half-dozen posts every 24 hours. And while I allowed myself to dream that I might someday earn an audience of a few hundred, I never imagined that thousands of readers would eventually make HA a part of their daily routines.
There is a ton of work and several tons more of pressure in keeping HA relevant, informative and entertaining, and there is absolutely no way I could have continued at this pace without the generous and talented help of my co-bloggers. And over the past year I have particularly come to rely on the increasingly prolific contributions of Will Kelley-Kamp both in keeping HA fresh, and in giving me the occasional breather that I so desperately need.
That is why I am both saddened and proud to announce that Will will be stepping back from HA, at least through November, to take a position as campaign manager for state Rep. Geoff Simpson. Will has more than earned this opportunity, and I have no doubt that he will perform his duties with flying colors. He will retain his blogging privileges here at HA, but neither the time nor the political constraints of a full-time political campaign will permit him to post with much if any frequency.
But as long as we’re saying goodbye to an HA regular, if only temporarily, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome a new co-blogger to the HA stables, Jon DeVore. Jon’s original blog, Columbian Watch, was one of the first political blogs I read on a regular basis (along with Carl’s famously concise Washington State Political Report), and I have long been a fan of his writing. Some of you may remember him as Stilwell, under which name he wrote for a while at NW Progressive Institute. I look forward to his contributions.
Will is incredibly enthusiastic about his new job, not the least which because, unlike blogging, it actually pays. Likewise, I know that there have been some of you in the comment threads who have suggested that I should do the responsible thing and get a real job myself, rather than asking my readers for support. Of course I could, and I’d probably make a pretty penny in the process, but my job here is not done. This is perhaps the most important election year in my lifetime since 1968, and we all know how well that one turned out for the nation. So I have chosen to take what little opportunity I have to make difference, and continue to attempt to do exactly that.
Of course, on this, the final day of my annual Pledge Week, please remember that I can’t keep this up forever. My ability to grow and expand HA to the point where it can eventually earn enough money to support me, relies for the moment on your continued support. Help support local progressive media. Please give today.
The headline in today’s Seattle Times pretty much sums up Dave Reichert’s entire campaign strategy this election: “In Reichert-Burner rematch, questions still loom about Burner’s public-service experience.”
All in all, I suppose it’s a pretty even-handed piece (though it is past time for local journalists to reevaluate the Reichert as “moderate” meme that Daniel has so consistently and thoroughly debunked), but I just flat out reject the premise that Darcy Burner’s lack of “public-service experience” should be treated as a substantial issue in this campaign.
In a nation whose founding fathers envisioned a citizen legislature, prior public service has never been a prerequisite for higher office, and is certainly no predictor of success therein. In fact, we have a long honored mythology — particularly in the GOP — surrounding successful businessmen who leave the private sector and enter politics to “give something back,” the most recent local example being the failed US Senate campaign of former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick. McGavick was certainly a flawed candidate, but never once did I hear my friends in the legacy media question his lack of “public-service experience.” It simply wasn’t a credible issue.
Burner also achieved success in the private sector before embracing public service, and while she’s no multimillionaire, she honed managerial skills at Microsoft we could surely use more of in Congress, skills she clearly demonstrated in developing and promoting the Responsible Plan. By comparison, Reichert is a career public employee, a beat cop cum paper-pusher who was plucked out of obscurity and appointed Sheriff in what was arguably one of the worst decisions of Ron Sims’ own long career in public service, and who had absolutely zero legislative experience himself, prior to entering Congress. I don’t mean to disrespect police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and other first line responders who put their lives on the line for us every day, but their job experience leaves them no more or less qualified to serve in Congress than most any other profession.
But I take larger issue with this line of attack in that campaigns tend to focus on the job experience of the incumbent, not the challenger, and for obvious reasons. It is fair to question Burner on the issues or on her competency or on her character, but few challengers can ever claim to match the on-the-job political experience of the incumbent, and to legitimize such a direct, unfavorable comparison would amount to little more than a blind defense of incumbency. Reichert, on the other hand, has a two-term record in Congress to defend, a legacy of accomplishments, or lack thereof, that is a legitimate issue of debate. Thus the main question before voters is whether Reichert has adequately performed in office, and if not, whether Burner has the competency and values to warrant an opportunity to serve in his stead. That is the standard by which the media usually covers campaigns because you cannot fault the challenger for lacking experience in the job she seeks.
When consummate Beltway insider Robert Novak says that Reichert “has not distinguished himself during three years in Congress,” you can be sure that he is echoing the opinion of Reichert’s own Republican colleagues. Thus it is not Burner’s experience that is the primary issue in this race — she has apparently excelled at nearly everything she has attempted to achieve in life — but rather the actual experience of Reichert in the job he seeks to retain.
It’s official. President George W. Bush has united the American people, who have collectively declared him: Worst. President. Ever.
President Bush has set a record he’d presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove. The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.
The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.
The title comes at the end of a long downhill slide from having the record highest approval rating in September, 2001. Bush earned that record by ignoring a daily presidential briefing dated 6 August 2001 titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in US.” (Among other things, the memo pointed out, “…FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.”)
The ARG poll gave Bush 22% approval and 72% disapproval. This isn’t the worst Bush has done in the ARG poll…in February, his approval was a mere 19% and his disapproval was an astounding 77%. But, then, ARG presidential approvals polls seem to be biased against Bush, and ARG, in general, has something of a reputation for quirky (i.e. highly variable) results.
The Rasmussen approval poll (which is now taken weekly instead of daily) has Bush’s approval at 34% and disapproval at 64%. The Rasmussen presidential approval polls have always been biased in favor of Bush relative to other major pollsters (but consistently and reliably so). We can compare Sunday’s results with past performance in the Rasmussen poll. When the April polls are averaged at the end of the month, this is likely to be Bush’s worst performance to date–easily beating the 36% approval and 61% disapproval from last May. Rasmussen points out:
Sometimes it is difficult to keep the ratings in perspective. In February 2005, at the beginning of the President’s second term, the number who Strongly Approved was roughly equal to the number who Strongly Disapproved. Now, three years later, just 13% Strongly Approve while more than three times as many—45%–Strongly Disapprove.
So…we have a lame duck Worst. President. Ever. But consider this: at this point in the second term, Ronald Reagan was hovering around 50% approval and Bill Clinton’s approval was in the low 60%. It isn’t just a “lame duck” effect.
Does Bush’s pathetic approval/disapproval matter? From Rasmussen:
In March, as the President’s Approval Rating slipped, the number of Americans who consider themselves to be Democrats remained near the highest levels ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports.
Yeah…I guess it does a little. Besides needlessly sending our soldiers to their death and running up enormous debt for an illegal war that was fraudulently foisted upon the American people, besides the erosion of our civil liberties, the invasion of our privacy, and the approval of torture contrary to our treaties, in addition to causing massive (and, quite possibly, permanent) damage to our reputation abroad, it looks like the Bush administration has also made it downright distasteful (or, perhaps, embarrassing) to be a Republican.
So how is founder Denis Hayes choosing to celebrate this 38th Earth Day? By endorsing Darcy Burner:
When it comes to the environment, Darcy gets it! But more than that, she gets what needs to be done, and knows how to get there. She will represent more than merely a vote we can count on and a voice on these issues that are important to each of us – she will take on the tough political battles we need to fight if we are to bring our planet back into balance. She is a true environmentalist.
On Sunday, I met with a group of this state’s registered medical marijuana patients, activists, and attorneys in downtown Seattle. It was the first time meeting many of the folks who I’ve heard about through various emails regarding court dates, trials, and other problems that this community still has to deal with. It’s been ten years since the voters of this state made it clear that we believe their medical choices are valid and should be protected by the law. Despite the intent of that voter initiative, people who have been certified by their doctors to use medical marijuana to help combat a variety of life threatening illnesses and severe disabilities are still being prosecuted across the state. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information shared at the meeting and I want to summarize what I was able take away from it:
Speaking before a crowd of about a hundred Democrats at a fundraiser yesterday, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (WA-06) reportedly said that if Hillary Clinton wins “big” in today’s Pennsylvania primary, he believes the nominating contest will go all the way to the convention, but… if she does not win big — and given the current polling he has no expectation that she will — there would be no way the math could work for her, and he’d flip his endorsement to Barack Obama in order to help end the contest sooner rather than later.
Dicks did not provide details, but he left the impression with attendees that he has discussed this scenario with several of his fellow Congressional superdelegates, and that he is alone in neither his analysis nor his intentions.
So think of Dicks as the canary in the coal mine of the Clinton campaign; if he flips, other superdelegates will likely flip with him. And that would signal the end of Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
For those of you who read HA, maybe comment from time to time, this blogging thing may look simple. Write up a few posts, and then go on with your day. Certainly, some of us (er, me) just post somewhat rarely, and expect to stay at our day jobs.
Goldy expects to actually make a living from writing here, and as a fan of the blog who wants to see the quality stay high, I certainly appreciate that. As a friend of Goldy’s, I think it’s nuts: Someone with his skills in technology and knowledge in politics should by rights make a lot more money than he does.
But Goldy keeps on chugging here. For a lot less than a decent political operative makes, he’s helped more than just about anyone locally outside of the Burner campaign push the Responsible Plan into the public discourse. He has stood up to the Chinese importers of tainted pet food, David Irons, and the shameless Republican hacks pushing their lies after the 2004 election. He’s done it all with well researched, informative, and most importantly, fun posts.
Writing a compelling blog, even one with modest readership compared to many of the large national blogs, requires a lot of work. Even for Goldy, who has one of the most tolerant comment policies, there is a good deal of moderation. The new look that you see is the result of a lot of late night coding. The research that goes into his posts takes a lot of time.
So, please, Goldy only has one fundraiser per year. If you care about a quality alternative to the mainstream local media (or just if you enjoy his critiques) give some scratch. If you care about the stories he’s helped push, please give a bit. If you’ve enjoyed discussions in the comment threads (and surely someone has) consider giving a few bucks.
Also, for the long term, advertising may be a better way to go, especially if you’ve got a company or a cause you’d like to promote.
The most striking aspect of Dino Rossi’s transportation “plan” (you know, other than its complete and utter bullshittiness), is its almost total focus on road-building at the expense of expanded transit options. In fact the only nod toward transit in the entire plan is Rossi’s proposal to divert Sound Transit money toward building additional miles of HOV lanes on 405 and elsewhere on the Eastside.
But even that’s a total crock of shit, for even if Rossi could get around the thorny constitutional constraints that gives a governor zero control over local tax dollars (and he can’t), at the same time he’s proposing building more HOV lanes, he’s also proposing opening these lanes up to single occupancy traffic throughout most of day, which in a region fast approaching 24-hour rush hour makes the HOV designation virtually meaningless.
So in essence, Rossi proposes taking money Sound Transit has socked away for building light rail to Bellevue, and spending it instead on building more general purpose freeway lanes — he just calls them “HOV” lanes and hopes voters and reporters won’t notice. Well, we did.
A heartfelt thanks to the 74 readers who have donated $4,335 to our second annual HA Pledge Week. But while that already surpasses last year’s $4,044 total we’re still far short of our 150 donor/$6,000 goal, six days into the drive.
If I’m at all disappointed it is with the total number of donations, still less than half this year’s target and 32 shy of last year’s total of 106 contributions. It is only through the extraordinary generosity of the donors thus far — averaging almost $59 per contribution — that Pledge Week hasn’t proven to be a bust. I suppose I shouldn’t be picky, but I had hoped for a broader base of readers to show their support.
But there’s still time. Last year a flood of $5, $10 and $20 donations helped put us over the top, and I’m hoping you ride to the rescue this year as well. Please show your support for local progressive media and help me take HA to the next level. Please give today.
From the TNT’s Political Buzz:
It seems Sheriff Dave has changed his Web site, which for months touted a rating showing him being the second most effective House member from Washington state during his first term. But according to the Democrats, sometime earlier this month that reference was dropped from his Web site. Reichert is now listed by congress.org as the least effective Washington state member and 401st out of the 439 House members.
No doubt House Republican leaders had high hopes for the silver haired Sheriff when he first came into Congress, gifting him plum committee assignments that bumped up his rookie year ratings. But in the three years hence he’s proven the biggest local bust since Brian Bosworth, trailing fellow WA Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers by a wide margin, along with 32 (out of 40) other members of his class.
The TNT points out that “the party in control sets the agenda, which affects the ratings,” and that’s good perspective, but so is the fact that when you compare apples to apples, Reichert now ranks only 171st out of 200 fellow House Republicans. Of course, that’s still better than 29 other GOP House members, some of whom aren’t even retired, indicted, behind bars or dead.
Why Reichert would choose to highlight his downward spiral, I don’t know. I suppose that explains the sudden web site edit.
Talk about domestic terrorism, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want to develop test tube meat:
[PETA] said it would announce plans Monday for a $1 million prize to the “first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012.”
The idea of getting the next Chicken McNugget out of a test tube is not new. For several years, scientists have worked to develop technologies to grow tissue cultures that could be consumed like meat without the expense of land or feed and the disease potential of real meat. An international symposium on the topic was held this month in Norway. The tissue, once grown, could be shaped and given texture with the kinds of additives and structural agents that are now used to give products such as soy burgers a more meaty texture.
Huh. I’ve always assumed that’s exactly how they already make Chicken McNuggets.
Seven months ago, the last time my 92-year-old grandmother had dinner at my house before she died, I organized all of the women in my family for a photo of “Four generations of women for Hillary Clinton.” In the photo we included the baby tee shirt that my now 15-year-old had worn when “we” volunteered for Bill Clinton’s first presidential run and our prized autographed photo of my infant daughter being held by President Clinton. Hillary was to be our first woman president, and my now adolescent daughters and I agreed with their cousins and aunts and grandmothers and great-grandmother that it was finally time.
Over the last few weeks in Pennsylvania my ambivalence about who I would vote for in the primary has been met by uniform surprise, “but you…. I thought you…aren’t you.” Yes, I am an upper middle class educated professional woman registered Democrat. My first political memory is going door to door for George McGovern with my mother. I have proudly self-identified as a feminist since age 12, and I have never wavered in my support for both Clintons. But, despite her intelligence and her eloquence, Hillary isn’t the candidate I wanted her to be, and if she can’t convince me, how can she possibly win a general election.
I don’t actually fault Hillary, because as all successful feminists of her generation who struggled to break the glass ceiling—and isn’t this the ultimate glass ceiling—she has absolutely mastered the rules of a man’s world. Unfortunately, the game is changing, and the old rules are no longer good enough. I wanted the first woman president to be better than the men who preceded her and not simply to be better at their politics. I wanted Hillary to rise above the fray, to inspire and to unite, and to humanize, and to finally be the one to change both how we campaigned and how we governed. While I owe Hillary a great debt for paving the way for the next generation of women politicians, I believe that our first woman president will not come from her generation. The price she and her peers had to pay for playing by the rules, as they existed, was too high. The first generation feminists didn’t realize that woman shouldn’t simply strive to succeed at the old rules, but they needed to change the rules themselves.
Barack Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia was probably my turning point. Although young and relatively inexperienced, Senator Obama is behaving like the elder statesman that I wanted Hillary to be. He strives to unite, to inspire and shockingly for a politician, he tells the complicated truth about issues like race, that other politicians avoid. I am immensely grateful to the Clintons for their years of service for the causes I believe in, and I hope that Senator Clinton and former President Clinton continue to use their stage to change the world. I wish the Clintons well and like many of their friends and allies I hope they don’t think I am betraying them, but I am voting for Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary.
— Goldy’s Sister